It’s all changing. I stand at the window, on a Monday and see it from my window — how it’s all changing.
Summer’s leaves have begun to blush toward fall.
Our fields are a lion’s mane yellow.
This older face is looking back at me, in the window reflection. She is a blur of the girl I once was and the woman I’m still becoming.
My oldest daughter asked me this morning to make her an omelet with arugula and feta cheese. How did this happen? Just yesterday, she was eating Lucky Charms and drinking juice from a sippy. The car has 88,532 miles on it. Three of this summer’s kittens have died. Some of our best friends moved back to the neighborhood, and one of our oldest friends is on hospice. I can’t run as fast as I used to without getting winded, and the eye doctor says I need to up my prescription. But I see some things, maybe the most important things, more clearly than I ever did before.
I’m still learning to see. I’ve asked God for Kingdom eyes.
At night, my husband and I watch Downton Abbey or Mad Men together on NetFlix. He has to push pause when I get the characters all mixed up or when I forget the previous night’s plot twist. We still call each other the same secret pet names that we’ve always had for each other. Meanwhile, we’ve discovered new ways to flirt and new ways to keep this remarkable love alive. We’re in it for the long haul. My hand still feels so warm in his. And we’re relearning spontaneity.
In eight years, it will be just the two of us in this house, which we built on this farm. We had only begun our family back then. It felt then like a whole lifetime was stretched out in front of us, but now one elastic band of time has snapped us to here.
Quick, this life.
I still remember the “new house smell,” a perfume of carpet fiber and sawdust. I noticed today how the paint is chipped in the kitchen, and how our curtains are outdated — at least I think they are. I keep meaning to do something about all of that, but then I forget, because it has lost its importance to me.
My favorite farmer will be in the fields soon, and then maybe by Thanksgiving, our little world will be draped in a duvet of white. And we’re all kind of sad that my Dad can’t help with harvest this year because he broke a bone.
There were new songs on the Christian radio station this morning, and I rather liked them. But last night, I feel asleep with one of my favorite old hymns echoing in my heart chambers. I didn’t even make it to the second verse.
The news had a big story on climate change this morning, and there was more bad news. I overheard it on the TV while I was flipping my daughter’s omelet, trying to make sure the arugula didn’t fall out the side. And everyone around our part of the world has been talking about how this summer was really the fastest summer of all. We say that every year.
My garden, it’s still pushing out tomatoes. Only recently have I begun to enjoy avocados alongside the tomatoes, and I love eating avocado straight out of the shell, spooning it out in mounds of green while humming to myself in the kitchen. There’s always something new to taste, to see, as we take this pass through life. And that’s all we get, one pass.
I cannot assume that I will have tomorrow to look out this window, and I don’t want to miss today.
It’s all changing. That’s what I’m thinking when I’m looking out the window, and the clouds are charging east, against the blue dome of heaven.
But change doesn’t feel scary anymore, not like it used to. It seems like I no longer view life as a “slipping away,” but a slipping toward. Maybe this is the grace God gives the aging.
The Slipping Toward… Toward some new taste on my spoon, toward the voice of a new friend, toward some new way to describe the color of the fields outside my kitchen window. It’s “lion’s mane yellow” today.
Maybe it’s because I have begun to see that when everything else changes, God stays the same. He’s the steady captain of this ship I’m on, and we’ve ridden through all kinds of waters and seasons, and the only thing that ever stayed the same was God. I see Him there, and He’s wearing the same sailor cap on His head that He wore when I was a little girl. He looks at me, and His face looks a little leathery — the look of a Man who’s been willing to stand in the heat for me.
And so we ride on, come what may.
To the lion’s mane fields, I say, this: I hope I see you tomorrow.
But if not, look toward the sky, o lion. For I’ll be with my captain.